Eikon E Piste

Or, the faithfull pourtraicture of a loyall subject, in vindication of Eikon basilike. Otherwise intituled, the pourtraicture of His Sacred Majestie, in his solitudes & sufferings. In answer to an insolent book, intituled Eikon alethine: whereby occasion is taken, to handle all the controverted points relating to these times 1649. As the title suggests this was an reaction to Eikon Alethine which declared that the King’s book Eikon Basilike wasn’t actually written by the King. The picture is also an answer to the frontispiece of the previous book. Again a disembodied hand pulls back a curtain to reveal the author of Eikon Alethine as a fool, having a jester’s cap placed on his head. He is trying to whip the King’s crown from his head whilst poised to replace it with a square cap in his right hand, an indication that many people thought (actually not without cause) that the King’s book had been written by a cleric. The King looks particularly fed up, perhaps writer’s block?

All a bit complicated, but not unusual for the times, there were often exchanges in the printed press like this, very much like in the tabloid press we have now. Anyway, the three figures are wearing  doublets, the fool has tabs cut up to the waistline with no obvious waist seam; whilst the chap with the cloak seems to have a longer bodied style, one of those gravity-defying collared cloaks that were the fashion and a nice pair of square toed boots. The jester’s cap is one of the traditional eared ones with bells.

In case you are wondering, the chicken’s head on the cap is quoting Horace the Roman lyric poet: “Spectatum admissi risum teneatis”. If you saw such a thing, could you keep from laughing? This was also the caption over the picture in Eikon Alethine. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum


Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 23.16.10

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